Sunday, July 17, 2016

Finishing Off Last Week's Card Show: Gary and the Braves

Some days, blogging comes easily. Ideas for posts or themes pop into my head quickly, a few Google searches fleshes them out, and bang! Blog post done. 

Other times, it's not as easy. There are times that, even when the cards are cool and can speak volumes themselves, the post doesn't come together well. The writing process becomes slogging through a morass rather than having words flowing smoothly.

Indeed, today is one of the more difficult days to get words flowing. I've started and stopped, typed and deleted, surfed the web rather than write, played a quiz on Sporcle, and generally stalled while trying to come up with something interesting.

Nothing came to me. Instead, I'm going with a list. Just a list. Maybe some video content. Maybe.  Well, actually, definitely at least one video.

Let's start with item 1 on the list:

1. Gary Carter Cards

Before the Gary Carter cards, it's time for video content.

Yes, it's a video of Gary Carter's last career hit -- a double on September 27, 1992. 

The team brought him in for 1992 as a final tribute season and, probably, to serve as something of a mentor to Darrin Fletcher (who, at age 25, was already in his fourth year in the league) and youngster Tim Laker, who had risen to the major leagues after being a 6th round pick in 1988 out of high school in Simi Valley. Carter had started out that year fairly strongly at the plate. As the year wore on, his hitting faded. 

Because the team was in a pennant race for much of the year, however, Carter started seeing less playing time. It was clear that his tank was empty, and a team which stood tied for first place as late as July 30 (and finished in 2nd place, 9 games behind division winning Pittsburgh) couldn't afford to carry his bat much longer.

In the end, Laker ended up pinch-running for Carter after that double. Perhaps out of sentimentality and the rousing ovation he received, the Expos did not play Carter during the final week of the season since the Expos finished the year on the road.

I found the Carter insert from last year in a dime box. The same goes for the 1992 Upper Deck high number card (which I had in a discolored form previously) and the 1992 O-Pee-Chee Tribute (of which I still need four other cards from that Tribute -- the other four showing him in his various previous stops in the major leagues). Finally, that Historic Swatches of Carter was a $3 card. Not bad for a Hall of Famer's card serial numbered 250 out of 350 from 13 years ago. 

These four cards bring my Gary Carter collection up to 258 different cards. It's nice to have one collection where I don't have to think about getting extra cards for my team collection too. Maybe I should think about another non-Brewer collection. Maybe.

2. Original Mid-1950s Cards

I paid $1 for each of these cards. 

Of these cards, two really stick out to me. First, the Pafko is off center but has a couple of sharp corners. If I were a grading type, I'd totally get this graded. 

Second, the 1954 Topps card of Roy Smalley is one I feel like I have had in my collection forever yet never really did. That's because in both 1976 and again in 1985 for the Father-Son cards, Topps used that same card for Smalley to represent him. This was done despite the fact that Smalley appeared on Topps cards in 1951, 1952, and 1957 in addition to 1954.

Side note: The prices at my local show tend to be really good, as the $1 1956 Topps cards with sharp corners shows. At one table, a guy who sells at shows in other locations and on eBay pored through the nickel and dime boxes looking for cards to flip for anywhere from 25 cents to $5. He got so many cards that he ended up stroking a check for $120. Now THAT is a lot of dime cards...and I'm quite sure that he got more than the 1200 dime cards one would expect for that price.

Incidentally, you will all be pleased to know that the rest of this post is entirely oddballs.

3. One Original 1960s Oddball

There seem to be three things that I am known for in the blogging world. First, I'll take your Milwaukee Brewers off your hands. Second, I post a LOT of music on my blog. Finally, I love oddballs.

For the first time in my collecting career of nearly 40 years, though, I dipped my toe into the Armour coin collecting pool. I did so almost on the spur of the moment, in that I had not walked in to the show thinking, "You know what I need? A 1960 Hank Aaron Armour Coin. And I'm not leaving until I find it." 

That said, when presented with an opportunity, sometimes you just grab it. I ended up paying $25 total for this coin, the two 1971 Topps Coins from yesterday, and the 1973 and 1975 Kellogg's cards from yesterday. 

PSA has a great history of the Armour hot dogs coins. To be quite honest, I could see myself at some point in the future -- perhaps a future with more money in my pocket, I suppose -- trying to collect the full run as a set. If only because I love oddballs so much, that thought appeals to me.

Actually, the thought that really appeals to me is to start with 1946 and to try to make a type collection. That way, I'm not burying myself too much with unobtainable cards -- there are still plenty of those nearly unobtainable cards in that grouping -- but I can avoid trying to find some cabinet card from 1911 that shows up only at auctions at Sotheby's. 

Now, for the rest of the post, let me just say that it was a great day for oddballs and reprints.

4. 1978 TCC Milwaukee Braves Greats Set

This is a 15-card set that includes Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn, and Joe Torre. I think this may be my first baseball card of Bob Uecker, strangely enough. By no means was Uecker ever a baseball great, as most of you are aware, but even by 1978, Uecker had achieved national notoriety through his appearances on the Tonight Show that caused his inclusion in this set. 

5.  1983 Larry Fritsch Boston/Milwaukee Braves Collectors Set

This set was printed for noted Wisconsin card dealer Larry Fritsch Cards, LLC. Fritsch has been around for decades now -- since 1970, in fact.  Its namesake Larry passed away in 2007, though the family continues to run the operation in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. For a while in the 1980s, Fritsch printed sets of Midwest League cards and, in fact, hit a big coup for them when one of the guys in the 1983 set who played for the Madison Muskies turned into the hottest name in the hobby in 1987 -- Jose Canseco.

This set was printed to commemorate the Braves' move to Milwaukee in 1983. All the photos are black and white and feature the players in Boston Braves headwear, oddly enough. Still, it's a nice commemorative set even if I'd prefer a color version.

6. Jalfco Reprint Sets of 1953, 1954, and 1955 Johnston Cookies 

The same printing company whose name appears on the back of that reprint of the 1970 Flavor-Est Milk Milwaukee Brewers set in the same year -- 1988. 

All together, these three reprint sets, the TCC set, and the Fritsch set cost me $60 total. That's not a bad cost for these sets together to me since I got them in hand right away and they came in plastic sheets already -- meaning I also got about 15 sheets in that price too.

It's a strange thing to see the 1953 and 1955 cards to me. It seems that every single one of the original cards I've ever seen have been from the 1954 set -- the tall thin ones -- rather than the more normally sized 1953 or 1955 sets. When Jalfco reprinted the 1954 set, though, they shrunk the cards a bit so that they would fit in the normal 9-pocket sheet size without sticking out of the top of the sheet. That was pretty nice of them.

So, at least I have cards that look like the Johnston Cookies sets. The next goal is to get the originals. 

And to do more research on all these reprints.

1 comment:

  1. I have a few arm our coins. Any color variations make completing a set difficult. The D. Walton coin is on the way to you .